SOLAR COMMITMENT: NSW Labor Deputy Leader Penny Sharpe with Clarence Candidate Trent Gilbert.
SOLAR COMMITMENT: NSW Labor Deputy Leader Penny Sharpe with Clarence Candidate Trent Gilbert. Tim Jarrett

Parties offer cheap solar in Clarence Valley

WITH the proliferation of rooftop solar across the country, both major parties have made commitments to making installation of solar projects in the home cheaper.

The NSW Government recently announced it would offer interest-free loans of up to $14,000 for solar and battery systems, while Labor announced measures to offer $2200 rebates to households for rooftop solar systems.

Labor's announcement was part of a commitment to add 7GW of large-scale solar, wind and storage to the grid to cut emissions in NSW and power three million homes.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW welcomed the commitments from Labor, calling them a "game-changer", and CEO Kate Smolski said it would also ensure the energy industry would get the certainty it needed to invest in clean energy and bring jobs to the regions.

The issue of large solar farms has been a controversial one in some regional areas, with NSW Farmers welcoming both parties' commitments to rooftop solar investment, while saying there was too much emphasis on large-scale renewable energy projects.

"We do not think that NSW has got the balance right between small-scale and large-scale renewable generation, particularly given rural community concerns around the impact of these large developments in important farming regions," NSW Farmers ag science committee chairman Dave Mailler said.

While in Grafton this week, Deputy Labor Leader Penny Sharpe recognised the need to listen to locals when looking for suitable sites for large-scale solar projects but said the party was nevertheless going ahead with its ambitious plans.

"Our commitment is to both large- and small-scale solar projects because it will drive down electricity prices. It actually generates clean, green energy and it is a massive jobs generator," she said.

"We are committed to solar, but not at the expense of good agricultural land. We have to find the sites and talk to the communities." Greens candidate for Clarence Greg Clancy also advocates for more investment in renewable energy, but says governments needed to go further.

"It's a bit naive to think that just interest-free loans and rebates would solve the problem, because it benefits people who already have some capacity to afford it," he said.

"Often the people that most need the savings associated with solar are the ones that can't afford it. The Greens are committed to looking after those people."

Who will you vote for in the seat of Clarence at the 2019 NSW Election?

This poll ended on 22 March 2019.

Current Results

STEVE CANSDELL - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

31%

GREG CLANCY - Greens

4%

TRENT GILBERT - Labor

21%

CHRIS GULAPTIS - Nationals

29%

THOM KOTIS - Sustainable Australia

0%

DEBRAH NOVAK - Independent

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.